March 10 2014 11:25PM
John Tortorella can't help but smile these days with his team showing resiliency, and fight!
The 2013-14 season has been one of all sorts of improbably feats for the Vancouver Canucks. They've (primarily negatively) surprised us in ways we couldn't have even imagined heading into the year. Seemingly whenever we've suspected that they weren't capable of something, they've managed to outdo themselves. It has been quite the campaign.
And that trend most certainly continued on Monday night, when they scored 3 goals, with two of them coming on the power play, en route to winning their second straight game.. These days that constitutes the most improbable of outcomes around here. Forget that it was against the lowly New York Islanders, and come streaking with me already!
Against all odds, the first period was actual a legitimately entertaining period to watch. Don't get me wrong, the play was predominantly sloppy from both teams, but that led to some *stuff* happening for once in a Canucks game.
A couple of fun facts:
-The Canucks, the team with the 28th ranked power play unit in terms of efficiency, had 5 power play goals in their past 16 games heading into this one. Only on 3 different occasions had they scored twice with the man advantage in the same game. So yes, the fact that they scored twice on the PP in this one was kind of out of nowhere.
-As was the fact that they scored 3 times, but only because they'd managed to look so meek against even the Calgary Flames of the world. They'd managed to score more than twice just 2x in their past 21 games, making it seem like a feat of the utmost difficulty. Then again, the Islanders had given up 3 or more goals in 32 of their 65 games on the season, so if anyone was going to give up more than a couple to the Canucks, it'd be them.
-Yannick Weber came into this game with 47:56 of power play time on the season. His 1:24/game was 12th on the team. Both of those figures seem awfully surprising given how futile the team's power play has been all year, but as we said, it's the '13-'14 Canucks, so you can throw your surprised look out of the window (which suddenly seems to be opening up again ever so slightly, by the way!)
Anyways, that fact was relevant because it was Weber's bomb from the point that eventually resulted in Higgins' 17 goal of the season. For those scoring at home individual goal leaders for the Canucks are: Kesler (22), Higgins (17), D.Sedin (13), Zack Kassian (11). Okay, then.
Henrik Sedin is a man amongst boys, but you already knew that. He's pretty clearly nowhere near 100% these days, but he's the team's Captain, and he likely knows that were he to sit out the Canucks would almost assuredly be one of the worst handful of teams in the league. I'm sure he doesn't want that kind of embarrassment to be associated with his name, and it's likely the only reason he's still in the lineup.
Thank goodness that he is, because he showed that - even in his weakened state - he can still get it done. It was pretty much a solo effort that made the game 2-0 in favour of the Canucks. As you'll note: he basically passed the puck into the net. That fact alone makes this a special one for Henrik.
And finally, it was Ryan Kesler's power play tally that put the cherry on top of this game, making it 3-0 for the Canucks. Poor Alex Burrows. For what seems like the 1218212912102109th time this season, he was within inches of scoring his first goal of the season.. but once again, he couldn't pull the trigger and finish it off.
I feel like I'm caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to him - on the one hand, he comes across as such a nice guy off of the ice, and it must be excruciating for him at this point. But the selfish blogger inside of me wants this to continue, so that when he breaks the record for most shots on goal to start a year without a goal by a forward, I can be there to write about it.
Ah, screw the page views. I hope he gets one sooner rather than later.
via Extra Skater:
They speak for themselves. As you can tell, the Canucks really took it to the Islanders following their 2nd goal, stepping on their throats. Given everything they had on the line, there was clearly no way in hell they were going to risk getting into a defensive shell to protect the lead. Now that's how you close out a hockey game, folks!
Two wins in a row, oh baby! We're going streaaaaaaking!
Thanks to this sudden and unexpected (albeit mini) winning streak, the Canucks now find themselves just 2 point out of a playoff spot, behind the Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars. There is work yet to be done, but this is something they can build off of, and maybe even save John Tortorella's job in the process..